Just a quick heads-up regarding Formula E once again. As you all know I’ve been following the development of the Formula for quite some time, so for me, it’s exciting to finally see everything come together for the very first race this Saturday.
The race will be held in Beijing on a street circuit, and unlike Formula 1, Formula E will fit everything into one day. This means that fans have/will be able to buy one ticket (priced at roughly £45 – though it’s possible this is only for grandstand seats) and watch the two practice sessions, qualifying and the race which will equate to about 3 and a half hours of racing in total.
While that doesn’t sound like an awful lot, you have to remember that not only is the Formula in it’s infancy (in comparison to other types of motor-sport), the cars are restricted by their battery power, something they are likely to develop and improve in future seasons. There may also be an opportunity to introduce support races later on, as the formula and its technology grows in popularity (hopefully), meaning even more racing for the fans.
Though Beijing (and other races) aren’t likely to have support races, fans will be able to access the eVillage. This will offer a range of activities promoting the Formula E Championship, from ebike stunt performances, to ekarting, race simulation and the opportunity to use their FanBoost vote (something I’ll come on to later). Fans will also be able to visit the Formula E Motor Show, showcasing a range of hybrid and electric cars from leading manufacturers (Tesla etc) premiering in Miami then moving to Long Beach, Monaco, Berlin and concluding in London.
The race in Beijing will also premier the ‘Fan Boost’, a new feature unique to Formula E allowing fans to vote for their favourite driver prior to the race. The three most popular drivers will be given a five second ‘boost’ that they can use during the race, increasing the car’s power from 150kw (202.5bhp) to 180kw (243bhp). Voting closes an hour before the race, and drivers will receive news regarding the fan boost 20 minutes before the start.
The feature has been met with some criticism, suggesting that the boost essentially turns the Formula into a popularity contest amongst drivers. While that is a possibility, I would argue that with a new form of racing should come new features, and I don’t think theres anything wrong with testing the water. In a race setting, the boost could mean the difference between winning a place, the race or even the championship, much more than just a popularity contest.
I’ve talked about what fans can expect to see at each race, but what about the lesser-fortunate few stuck at home, feeling miserable because they’re missing out?
Don’t be too disheartened!
ITV4 secured broadcasting rights within the UK quite some time ago now, and will provide live coverage for all 10 races this season. Sadly fans won’t be able to watch the practice or qualifying sessions (something to work on for future races I think) but they will be able to watch the race in full. This particular race (Beijing) will be shown at 8am tomorrow morning (13th Sept 2014) in the UK, for 90-minutes, a nice way to start the morning I think!
For my international readers interested in checking out the race, please click here for more broadcasting information.
Now, enough about what I think, what do you think of Formula E? Will you be watching tomorrow?
Comment below and let me know!
P.s. Don’t forget to set your alarm – 8am, bright and early. It’s going to be brilliant!